During the Penguins season, I got into a few verbal spats with some of my friends (mostly from Philly) and people on the CBS Sportsline message boards (again, Philly fans with a few Washington fans thrown in) about who was the greatest player in the NHL. My pick was Sidney Crosby, and I’m hardly alone. Most everyone involved with hockey in some way thinks that Crosby is the league’s most dominant player. The reasons for this are many.
Crosby was the youngest ever full-time team captain. He was the youngest ever to score 100 points in a season. He was the youngest ever to win the Art Ross trophy (League Scoring Title) and the Lester B. Pearson Trophy (MVP – Players), while being the second youngest (after Wayne Gretzky) to win the Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP – Writers). He is the only teenager to ever win a league scoring title in any sport in North America. He was the youngest player to be voted to the All Star game. He broke Mario Lemieux’s team rookie records for assists and points. He is so amazing that he missed 28 games this past season and still put up 72 points and was a +18.
Not only does he put up numbers, but he often does it in style. Crosby can turn a mistake into an advantage. He can score after skating through 4 different defenders. He can bounce the puck off the blade of his stick into the air to keep possession. He can slide along the ice on one knee and redirect a puck around a goaltender. He has incredible on-ice vision and can make everyone around him better (and make defensemen look like they are still playing in Juniors).
Let’s look at a recent list compiled by the Wall Street Journal as to who they think the best athletes in the world are. They took a list of 79 athletes and chose the top-10. They ranked Sidney Crosby 6th, out of all the athletes in the world. You can view the list HERE. No other hockey player made their top-10, so in this instance, Crosby is tops by default.
This list alone doesn’t make Crosby the best player, only the best NHL athlete, but if you combine athletic ability with skill, vision and all the intangibles that come with being a captain, you must come to the conclusion that Sidney Crosby is the best.
So, the next time any of you look to spout off at the mouth about who you think that best NHL player is, perhaps you should come with a little more that a derogatory nickname (Cindy Crosby) and a bunch of hot air – as the “tale of the tape” shows Crosby is the best hockey player on the planet.